Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Wednesday said that the move to displace people of the Garo Community residing in forest areas in neighbouring Bangladesh needs to be taken up diplomatically.
“As per news reports, the Bangladesh Government through its forest department claims all the forest area of Modhupur to be government land and has an intention to create an eco- park. At the same time, the Garo indigenous people of Modhupur residing in the same forest land maintain that the place is their ancestral land which has been passed on through generations,” Sangma said in reply to a Zero-Hour notice by Opposition Congress legislator Process T Sawkmie.
“The tribals residing the forest have been protesting for well over two weeks ever since the Bangladesh Government began exerting pressure on them to vacate their lands,” the Chief Minister said.
Sangma informed that the Garoland State Movement Committee (GSMC) in solidarity with the indigenous Garo people of Modhupur district of Bangladesh demanded to revoke the eviction notice served on them by the forest department, Government of Bangladesh.
He also informed that on February 9, from 1 pm to 2 pm, around 40 members of the GSMC staged a peaceful dharna and displayed banners and placards in front of the office gate of the Deputy Commissioner, West Garo Hills District, Tura.
The GMSC had also submitted an appeal to the chief minister of Meghalaya through the Deputy Commissioner, he informed and added that the peaceful protests did not pose any serious challenge to the law and order situation in the Garo Hills.
“This matter needs to be taken up diplomatically with Bangladesh, through the Government of India. Since the said developments are taking place in a neighbouring country, which is beyond our jurisdiction, we can only keep a close watch on the situation and ensure there are no disturbances in the Garo Hills region, due to the said issue,” the Chief Minister emphasized.